Kingsley Tufts enjoyed great success in business and the arts. He was an executive in the Los Angeles shipyards and wrote poetry as his avocation. In the 1930s his poems were featured in Harper’s, The American Scholar, The New Yorker, Esquire, and Coronet.
Following Kingsley’s death in 1991, his widow Kate Tufts established the $50,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award at Claremont Graduate University in 1992. Kate went on to establish the $5,000 Kate Tufts Discovery Award in 1993. In 2002, the purses for the Kingsley & Kate Tufts Poetry Awards were raised to $100,000 and $10,000, respectively. As Kate Tufts observed, these awards are intended “to give a poet a little breathing room and a little recognition.”
The legacy created with the Tufts Poetry Awards will continue to inspire countless generations of poets and lovers of poetry.